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Interview: Linda Green, New Orleans "yakamein lady"

Will Coviello talks with the city's legendary "yakamein lady"



Linda Green ( met generations of New Orleanians during 25 years preparing meals in Orleans Parish school cafeterias, and they recognized her when she first started serving her signature yakamein (the Asian-Creole hybrid noodle soup) at second line parades more than 20 years ago. Since 2005, Green has expanded her soul-food catering to festivals, food events and weekly stints at Ogden After Hours concerts at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. In June 2012, she won a TV cooking competition on the Food Network show Chopped. — WILL COVIELLO

Where did you get your yakamein recipe?

Green: My great-grandmother made yakamein, and when she made it, neighbors would come over with their bowls and sit on the porch. My mother used to sell it at a corner bar, and one day, I said, "Let me try this." So my yakamein has the taste from back in the day, with the soy sauce. But I use beef in mine instead of pork chops or chicken.

What other traditional dishes do you prepare?

G: I do beef and vegetarian yakamein at Jazz Fest, and I also serve macaroni and cheese, but I told Quint (Davis) that my yakamein is going to be as big as crawfish Monica. And I make huckabucks, the frozen cups for children, but a lot of adults get that. At (Oak Street) Po-boy Festival, I do my fried pork chop sandwiches plus my shrimp and crabmeat dressing on French bread, and it's to die for.

What is next for your catering business?

G: I am working on a seasoning for Rouses. It's a powder that you add to water for soup. It'll taste the same as (my yakamein).

  And I am getting my own food truck. It should be ready to go in a month. I'm going to take that to second lines, festivals and events out-of-town. When they say, "Linda, can you come?" I'm gonna start the engine.

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